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Nov 3, 2011

DotA Guide: Kardel Sharpeye - Dwarven Sniper Introduction

DotA is the most popular custom made map for Warcraft III. To allow players a better understanding of this complex and sometimes complicated game here is a useful hero guide.

Very vulnerable at first and very feared in late games, Kardel Sharpeye is a contrast hero that can be recruited from the Sentinel Agility taven. He can perform well with a teammate, but it's best to take a lane alone. You can deny creeps with ease and also use your Assassinate skill to harass and finish enemies. You must keep a close eye on teleport heroes and invisible ones.

Let's take a closer look at this hero's background: "Kardel Sharpeye is a testament to his name and race. Using only his finely honed skills of marksmanship and his trusty rifle, he systematically destroys his opponents from afar.

Taking great care to aim for the most vulnerable of areas, he is capable of severely injuring an opponent, and with a little extra time, has been known to simply dispose of an enemy in a single shot.

His rifle is equipped with a secondary barrel, capable of launching a short burst of shrapnel at close range, causing massive damage."

Know as a fragile hero with the longest attack range in the game, Dwarven Sniper also posses some skills that will impress a lot of people, and that will make enemies tremble:

Shrapnel (Shortkey C) - Using his weapons, the Sniper shoots out shrapnel bits onto the ground damaging (12/24/36/48) and slowing (15/20/25/30%) any enemy that reaches the area. Note that this is also effective against buildings (30%), even if it only lasts for 8 seconds.

Headshot (Shortkey O) - This is a passive skills that will add bonus damage and a mini-stun to the hero's attacks. With each level the chance to do 30/40/50 damage increases from 25/30/35% and up to 40%.

Take Aim (Shortkey E) - The second passive skill improves the range of Kardel Sharpeye making him less expose to enemy fire. He can also torment enemy heroes by attacking them and not get hit back. It will add 65/130/195/260 range.

Assassinate (Shortkey T) - A powerful ultimate spell that will also work on invisible units. The hero loads and fires his mighty rifle causing a lot of damage (355/505/655) to a unit at some impressive range (1500/2000/2500). It's useful at taking out injured opponents or just harassing them.

The first two things that this hero should have are: Lothar's Edge and Mask of Madness / Helm of the Dominator. Later in the game you should try to build: Buriza-do Kyanon, Butterfly, Manta Style. When not building life steal you can do: Stygian Desolator or Mjollnir.

If you have any other suggestions please let all the DotA fans know in a comment.

Nvidia Kal-El Quad-Core SoC Gets Pictured

We are getting nearer to the release of Nvidia's quad-core Kal-El system-on-a-chip (SoC) device and recently a picture of this chip has popped up online to showcase it in all of its glory.

The SoC in the picture found above the article was taken from an FCC filling of Asus' Transformer Prime, the first tablet to make use of this chip, and was posted online by Wireless Goodness.

The packaging for the SoC looks fairly plain, but underneath its silver heatspreader there are four Cortex A9 cores based on an ARM architecture paired together with a fifth low-power companion core.

Nvidia chose this arrangement in order to increase the power efficiency of its design, as the companion core handles many of the tasks the device runs when in idle mode.

For more details about Nvidia's Kal-El architecture you can check out our previous article that takes an in-depth look at this chip.

AMD Radeon HD 7000 Launch Apparently Delayed to 2012

As we get nearer to the end of 2011, it seems like more and more sources are starting to imply that AMD's next-generation Radeon HD 7000 graphics cards won't actually get released by the end of this year, but instead will arrive in the first quarter of 2012.

This time, the information comes from the Rage3D website which cites some unnamed sources.

According to these sources, the problems seem to come from the production side, possibly indicating that TSMC is having troubles with volume production of chips based on the advanced 28nm node.

This isn't the first time we hear that the Taiwanese foundry is having issues with the yields of its 28nm fabrication process, which has entered volume production in the last week of October.

AMD's Radeon HD 7000 graphics cores, known under the code name of Southern Islands, will be split by the chip maker into two different product families.

The first of these will target low- and mid-range graphics solutions and will be based on the same VLIW4 architecture AMD introduced with the Radeon HD 6900 GPU series.

These will be the first to arrive, while later in 2012 AMD will introduce Radeon HD 7900 GPUs based on the Next Generation Core (NGC) architecture.

NCG was specially designed in order to break free from the VLIW (very long instruction word) architecture and should improve performance and functionality of GPGPU computing in AMD's graphics cores.

The entry-level and mid-range Radeon HD 7000 GPUs will be known by the code name of Thames and Lombok, while the NCG HD 7900 series will use the Tahiti designation.

Nvidia's next-generation graphics cores, built using the same 28nm TSMC fabrication node and code named Kepler, will also arrive in 2012 and will be officially announced in December of this year, according to a recent report.

AMD FX-8150 Sets Overclocking World Record Yet Again, Reaches 8.58GHz

After only last week it managed to achieve a new overclocking world record using AMD's FX-8150 processor based on the Bulldozer architecture, Andre Yang has now returned with an even more impressive OC result to establish a new WR for the highest speed ever achieved by a CPU.

During this new overclocking session, the enthusiast managed to get AMD's FX-8150 processor to an impressive 8584.8MHz, 123.3MHz more than its previous record.

Andre used the same system as before complete with liquid nitrogen cooling, but has increased the voltage of the CPU from 1.992V to a whopping 2.076V.

Thanks to the higher vCore, the FX-8150 was able to reach 8584.8MHz frequency with a bus speed of 279.9MHz and a 31.0X multiplier.

To put things in perspective, the eight-core AMD flagship processor used during these experiments, has a base clock of 3.6GHz and a maximum Turbo Core frequency of 4.2GHz, so this translates into a 238% core speed increase over the chip's stock settings.

The rest of the system used for this overclock was comprised out of a high-end Asus Crosshair V Formula motherboard, 2GB of Corsair DDR3 system memory running at 923.8MHz (1847.6MHz DDR) with timings of 9-9-9-24T and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 580 graphics card.

Just as with the two previous world records for the FX-8150, this frequency was also achieved with only two of the eight cores active. The new WR hasn't appeared yet in CPU-Z's validation database.

Before setting this new record, the highest speed achieved by a CPU was established at 8,461.51MHz and it was also reached by Andrew Yang with an FX-8150 processor.

Despite the impressive results achieved by this CPU, AnandTech believes that there is more life left into the Bulldozer core, which could be able to surpass the 9GHz mark once the B3 stepping arrives into the hands of overclockers.

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Will Have GNOME 3.2

Ubuntu Developer Summit for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin) is taking place these days (October 31st - November 4th) in Orlando, Florida, USA.

Canonical decided to implement the ability to sign-in in Ubuntu with your Ubuntu One credentials, in order to have access to all your stored data. Similar to Apple's iCloud idea!

As Mozilla Thunderbird is now the default mail client, Canonical will most likely prepare a calendar add-on (or separate app) that will be integrated with Thunderbird.

Another big news is that Ubuntu 12.04 LTS will feature the stable and well tested GNOME 3.2 desktop environment, but with some packages from the upcoming GNOME 3.4 stable release.

For Ubuntu 12.04 LTS the developers will also fix the boot process, making it flicker-free, not showing the console during reboot, suspend or resume. Moreover, the power consumption will be fine-tuned for the Precise Pangolin.

Last but not least, there will be a low-latency kernel package available in the default repositories for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, maintained by Ubuntu Studio devs, to make the system ideal for audio tasks by reducing latency.

Also, don't miss Mark Shuttleworth's keynote at UDS-P, were he says that Unity is here to stay and everyone should embrace it. Click here to watch the video!

Nokia N9 -Nokia Lumia 800 Photo Comparison

Nokia's first Windows Phone device, the Lumia 800, was built on the same body as the Nokia N9, but with a series of minor modifications to make room for Microsoft's mobile OS. 

When put side by side, the two show striking resemblance, as expected, but also unveil the design changes that Nokia has packed the WP device with to differentiate it from the already available phone.

A new series of images featuring the duo was published online by the guys over at Nokia Connects, and you can have a look at some of them below.

For example, N9 runs MeeGo and sports a buttonless interface, while Lumia 800 features the usual three buttons that Microsoft's Windows Phone platform requires, as well as a dedicated camera button that N9 users might miss from time to time, but other differences are also there.

Nokia Lumia 800 to Get Internet Sharing via Software Update

Nokia's first Windows Phones are already heading for the market and should become available for purchase in about two weeks or so, but it seems that they will not have all of the features packed inside enabled right from the start. 

The same as other Windows Phone devices, Nokia's Lumia ones were expected to land on shelves with Internet sharing capabilities, or hotspot features, but it seems that the option will be disabled in the beginning.

This does not come too much as a surprise, that's for sure, since many other Windows Phones were also pushed to shelves with the said feature disabled, but it does not mean that those who will purchase it will not be able to take advantage of it.

Responding to concerns that the new Nokia Lumia 800 will not offer Internet Sharing to its users, Nokia said that the technology was actually included in the device, and that a future software update will come along to enable it, a recent article on WinRumors reads.

“Microsoft takes very seriously meeting (and exceeding) the requirements outlined by agencies such as the FCC in the USA,” the handset vendor reportedly stated.

“They felt it was really important to fully address the concerns raised by recent FCC regulations before enabling this feature and are optimistic they can deliver on these requirements though a software update and are working diligently on that now.”

Moreover, the leading mobile phone maker said that they are working closely with Microsoft to see whether new features might be added inside future devices, including NFC chips or dual-SIM support.

“For features not currently supported by Windows Phone such as NFC or dual SIM we are working with our partner Microsoft to determine the top priorities for future iterations of the platform,” the Finnish giant stated.

Starting with November 16th, mobile phone users in select markets across Europe will be able to purchase the new Nokia Lumia 800 device. The handset will arrive in more countries starting with the next year.

Fedora Wants To Simplify the Linux Filesystem

Harald Hoyer and Kay Sievers, two Red Hat developers, made an announced their attempt to simplify the Linux filesystem, to clean up the "mess" created when the /bin and /sbin directories were separated.

To the point, the Fedora Project wants to move their libraries into the /usr/lib or /usr/lib64 directories and all executable files into the /usr/bin directory.

For Fedora, making the filesystem simpler means clear separation of operating system and host specific resources and /usr can be easily snapshotted, read-only, and shareable.

For end users, making the filesystem simpler means less toplevel directories.

In conclusion, having all the libraries and binaries on a single mounted volume, makes it simpler to run multiple instances of the operating system on other computers across the network, and ease the use of snapshots.

More details about this movement can be found here.

Commodore C64x Extreme Has Intel Core i7 CPU and 8GB RAM

Continuing the tradition established by the original Commodore keyboard computer, Commodore C64x is now entering its third form, or at least is getting its third set of internal components.

Now, the item has made another leap in ability, a big one in fact, switching the Intel Atom D525 dual-core chip for a Core i7 quad-core unit of 2.2 GHz / 3.3 GHz Turbo Boost.

Also, the chip is accompanied by a 2 TB HDD and 8 GB of DDR3 RAM (random access memory).

“A home computer used to be a portal to the future and a pathway of exploration and discovery. Commodore seeks to return that passion and enhance the ability to learn and develop skills in programming, computational media, mathematics, the arts and many other fields, to the mainstream and to the main streets across the globe,” says Mr. Barry Altman, president and CEO of Commodore.

“Freedom means the ability see all source code and to learn from others. Freedom means to share your learning, your passion and to personalize your environment. A hot house flower grown in a walled garden may look pretty now, but it will eventually fade and lose its passion, yet wild flowers grown in the open sunshine never fail to inspire.”

The Commodore C64x Extreme has a rice of $1,500, 1,092 Euro as it were, and will ship by December 15 if orders are placed before November 25.

That sum will also get buyers the Linux Mini 11 OSS (Commodore OS Vision will come later with Windows), Ethernet, DVD-RW, Bluetooth, WiFi, eSATA, USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 connectors.

“The Extreme is fast, fun and well suited for computational intensive applications from CAD, video editing, software compilation and sound processing. Our customers don't just use OTS software while consuming media, but rather create and tinker with software while composing their own music, videos and animations; tasks the C64x Extreme is well suited for,” said the CEO.

Asus Transformer Prime Visits the FCC, Gets Torn Down to Reveal Kal-El SoC

Expected to arrive in a little less than a week from now, Asus Transformer Prime tablet powered by Nvidia's Kal-El chip has just starred in a series of photos taken by the FCC which reveal the internals of the device.

The Transformer Prime, model number TF201, visited the FCC in late October and won the commission's approval for WiFi and Bluetooth functionality, according to Wireless Goodness, but no mention of 3G was in sight.

The filling also came complete with a series of pictured depicting the insides of the tablet and the Nvidia Kal-El system-on-a-chip (SoC) device used by Asus for the tablet.

We covered Nvidia's Kal-El in detail in a previous article, so we are not going to get into too many details right now, but we'll remind you that the chip packs four Cortex A9 cores based on an ARM architecture paired together with a fifth low-power companion core.

Nvidia chose this arrangement in order to increase the power efficiency of its design, as the companion core handles many of the tasks the device runs when in idle mode.

In addition to the Kal-El SoC, the FCC filling also reveals some NAND memory built by Hynix and Elpida SDRAM, while the Prime's wireless capabilities seem to be powered by an Azurewave chip.

The GPS chipset seems to be provided by Broadcom, and we also get to see in the pictures the device's camera, its mini-HDMI port as well as the massive battery that should be able to deliver an impressive 14.5 hours of battery life.

The initial version of the Transformer Prime will run the Android Honeycomb OS, but an Ice Cream Sandwich update is expected to hit the Prime in December of this year.

Asus is expected to release both a Silver and a Gold edition of its tablet on November 9.

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